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US Senator Roger Wicker Urges Enhanced Defense Spending for U.S. Space Force to Counter China

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) has released a comprehensive white paper; advocating for a significant increase in defense spending to enhance cutting-edge technologies.

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Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Wed May 29 2024Written by Zac Aubert

WASHINGTON D.C. — Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee has released a comprehensive white paper; advocating for a significant increase in defense spending to enhance cutting-edge technologies. This proposal particularly emphasizes the capabilities of the U.S. Space Force to effectively compete with China's expanding military presence in space.

In his detailed analysis, Wicker focuses on China's recent advancements in space technology, cautioning that Beijing is on the verge of a “strategic breakout.” He highlights that China’s growing dependence on space assets introduces new vulnerabilities that the U.S. must be prepared to exploit.

“Beijing's increasing reliance on space creates opportunities for the U.S. to disrupt their over-the-horizon ‘kill chains’,” - Sen. Roger Wicker

Wicker insists that the Department of Defense must shift its view of the Space Force from merely an enabling service to a powerful offensive force capable of significantly disrupting adversaries' space-enabled networks. Despite acknowledging the budgetary growth the Space Force has experienced since its inception, he argues for the procurement of classified programs on a much larger scale to keep pace with China’s advancements.

The white paper stresses the importance of designing a more capable, layered, and networked satellite architecture across multiple orbits. Such a system would enable the U.S. military to deter and defend against actions across air, land, and sea domains. By leveraging various satellite types and orbits, the Space Force can strengthen existing defensive capabilities.

Wicker also calls for significant upgrades in satellite cybersecurity and anti-jamming features. He advocates for the development of self-healing networks that can autonomously mitigate cyber-attacks. The integration of government and commercial space systems into diverse and hybrid constellations is crucial, according to Wicker, to prevent adversary disruption strategies through the disaggregation of payloads and nodes.

Regarding space launch capabilities, Wicker warns that the launch industry “cannot be allowed to consolidate or stop driving down cost-per-launch.” He underscores the importance of the Space Force harnessing commercial developments in the space domain, particularly in communications, geospatial collection, earth sensing, space domain awareness constellations, advanced software, ground processing, and machine learning.

Highlighting the urgency of his proposals, Wicker notes that the Space Force and the Space Command submitted over $2 billion in "unfunded requests" for the fiscal year 2025 budget.

“This underscores the need for increased investment to maintain the U.S. advantage in space,” - Sen. Roger Wicker

The release of Wicker’s white paper comes at a critical time as Congress prepares for what is expected to be a contentious debate over federal spending levels, set against the backdrop of an upcoming presidential election year. As lawmakers grapple with budgetary constraints, Wicker’s call for bolstered defense spending aims to ensure that the U.S. remains at the forefront of space military capabilities, ready to counter and outpace China’s strategic advances.